Gruta de las Canicas

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Cave pearls in Gruta de las Canicas
Cave pearls in Gruta de las Canicas. / screenshot from Aquiles Lara, video
The floor of Gruta de las Canicas is covered with some 200 millions of cave pearls – sparkling white or with a marble texture.

This 529 m long cave formed in Cretaceous carbonates with entrances at both ends. Next to it, almost connected is another, larger cave – the 784 m long Gruta de los Mayas.

Cave of the Marbles (if translated to English) has several passages. In some places are quite impressive stalactites and other cave formations. The most impressive feature, though, is the incredible amount of cave pearls. The main cave room is some 8 by 6 m large and is fully covered with these pearls. The layer of pearls here is more than 1 m thick.

Individual pearls are some 1 – 1.5 cm large, but some are larger. Pearls are formed from concentric layers of calcite. The mechanism behind the formation of such a tremendous amount of cave pearls is not clear.

References

  1. HOUSTON, Shari, MOZLEY, Peter S., CAMPBELL, Andrew R., and BOSTON, Penny. Petrology and Chemistry of Cave Pearls from Gruta De Las Canicas (Cave of the Marbles), Tabasco, Mexico. 2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 40, No. 6, p. 479.
  2. La Gruta de las Canicas al sur de Tabasco. México Desconocido, 26.July 2010.
  3. Gruta de los Mayas, Gruta de las Canicasx. Ejiodo Profesor Arcadio Zentella, Mpo. Teapa Tabasco AMCS Activities Newsletter no. 25, p. 36, 2002.

Gruta de las Canicas on the map

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Location, GPS coordinates: 17.5255 N 92.8958 W
Categories: Caves
Values: Geology
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)
Where is located? North America, Mexico, Tabasco, some 7 km south-east from Teapa town
Length: 529 m

Landmarks of Mexico

El Castillo pyramid, Chichen Itza
El Castillo pyramid, Chichen Itza / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Few countries of the world can offer such array of unique and astounding attractions as Mexico.

Ancient Mexico was a cradle of several highly developed indigenous civilizations. As a result, some regions in the country are dotted with remnants of ancient cities with temples, palaces, and pyramids.

Caves

Entrance into Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Philippines
Entrance into Puerto Princesa Subterranean River / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Every year researchers report about exciting discoveries of new caves. Often they discover new qualities of the known caves, e.g. cave paintings. Nevertheless, we know just a small part of all these monuments of nature.

Recommended books

The Devil’s Book of Culture


In this highly original ethnography, Benjamin Feinberg investigates how different understandings of Mazatec identity and culture emerge through talk that circulates within and among various groups. These groups include Mazatec-speaking businessmen, curers, peasants, intellectuals, anthropologists, bureaucrats, cavers, and mushroom-seeking tourists.

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